Critical skill’s shortage in hospitality

In response to the Government’s immigration reset announcement, hospitality business owners are joining Restaurant Association in launching a two-month response campaign nicknamed The Reset.

Restaurant Association New Zealand CEO Marisa Bidois said, “the situation is now beyond critical,” with business nationwide reducing hours, changing operating schedules, and even closing whole services to maintain some semblance of operations.

The hospitality sector was already facing a skills shortage before border closures, but with the Government’s ideological based policy approach, there is concern the industry will be culled again.

Approximately 30 percent of hospitality is comprised of workers on temporary work visas, with some cases closer to 60 percent. The industry’s current workforce on temporary visas is 15 percent. Bidois anticipates losing 15 percent of the total workforce with this reset and sees no viable replacement as it is very difficult to recruit mid to senior skill-level workers.

Whilst the Government has heard RANZ’s pleas and announced an extension for working holiday visas, there is still no plan for temporary visa holders on essential skills work visas.

Migrants provide a source of valuable expertise, bridging the gap between local skill and staff shortages for most of the hospitality industry. However, the skills gap is now too large, and RANZ needs Government cooperation to provide workable solutions so businesses can remain operational.

RANZ calls for policymakers to work with the industry to ensure immigration changes are practical and provide workable solutions. Based on dead-end conversations, though, businesses could face reducing operating hours or shutting altogether.

Following today’s announcement on working holiday visa extensions, The Reset has three requests of the Government:

  • Pause the planned hourly wage threshold increase to $27.00
  • Provide an urgent additional visa extension for employer-assisted work visa holders currently in New Zealand to allow employers to retain their existing migrant workforce
  • Allow border exceptions for other critical workers from other industries such as hospitality where there is a proven need and extend the number of working hours permitted for those on student visas

For information, visit

Join the petition at